• Sarah Margaret Henry

Why Writing About Water Makes Me a Better Feminist

Oh dang, I really did that, didn't I?

At this point, I’m about five months out of college and I’m really starting to just be in awe of the opportunities I’ve been granted to do really meaningful work.

Whoever told you that B.A.s in English and Communications are useless either (1) doesn’t have one or (2) flunked their way through college because they thought it would be an “easy” major.

We definitely get our fair share of people who coast their way through the program, but if you genuinely put in the effort to make the most of each of your classes, you’ll leave with the proper foundations you need to rule the world.

I’m talking total conquest. Not only because you’ve got the skills to understand the art of persuasion and the adaptability to communicate with a variety of different people within a variety of different contexts, but because you’re strong enough at this point from carrying around all the textbooks and literature that you could basically take anyone down if you really wanted to.

For the present moment, I’ve decided to use my powers for good, but keep being nice to me, because that could change at any moment.

Recently, I’ve begun working as media strategist, social media coordinator, web designer, copywriter, and blogger for Enliven Incorporated, an awesome organization that brings clean water and sanitation principles to rural communities in Africa.

I have always been one of those “turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth” type of people, but I haven’t taken a good, hard look at the privilege I have just by living in an area in a country where I have constant access to clean water; I’ll go running (yeah, I do that sometimes) on a trail, and in the middle of the woods, there’s a water fountain with water cleaner than the majority of the world has access to.

How amazing is that?

I wrote a piece recently about why water is a feminist issue and it definitely was a moment where I had to check my privilege. Yeah, being a woman* is crazy difficult in the United States, but could you imagine living somewhere where schools don’t have a bathroom so you just straight up can’t go to school while you’re on your period?

I like to berate the United States, especially in this current political climate (definition: (noun) sh*tstorm), but I’m lucky as hell that I can throw my bed sheets and sweatpants in the washing machine when I bleed through them at night and then I can take a shower to clean myself up in the morning.

But I’m generally too busy moaning like a zombie to thank my lucky stars when my stomach feels like it’s ripping itself apart with steak knives.

And I’m not saying as women in the United States we shouldn’t whine and moan and make our partners hold us while we’re bleeding out like a wounded puppy.

Because we definitely should.

But once our uteruses are not throwing a tantrum, we should definitely recognize how amazing it is that we can deal with the sucky reality that periods suck with water and proper sanitation facilities.

And not everyone in the United States is that lucky either! Even in our own country, women* struggle with a lack of access to tampons, pads, and warm or clean water.

This opportunity to write for this organization has been a wonderful reminder that while I should speak up for the injustices that I experience in my own life, I should also give a spotlight to the women* who are struggling with issues I will probably never have to face.

I cannot be their voice, but I can certainly pass the microphone.


If you want to learn more about the water crisis around the world, check out Enliven’s site, particularly the newsroom that yours truly cultivates and updates three times(ish) a week. Subscribe to our site, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and if you’ve got a spare dollar, throw one our way. Our team from Wilmington is heading to Uganda to do some awesome work down there in the next few weeks (unfortunately, I will be stuck stateside), so we could really use your help to continue doing the work we are currently doing.


What causes are you really passionate about? What do you wish more people were thankful for in developed nations?

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